Legislative Coverage

Utah Lawmaker Wants Breathalyzers in Bars

(KCPW News) Jukeboxes and pinball machines are mainstays at most Utah bars, but House Majority Whip Greg Hughes wants to add another machine to those old standards: a breathalyzer.

The Republican representative from Draper is working on legislation to incentivize bars and social clubs to keep a breathalyzer machine on the premises. The idea, Hughes said, is to help people make an informed decision about driving home.

Hughes has a few ideas on how to encourage bars to provide breathalyzers, including reducing penalties for certain infractions.

“If you have (a breathalyzer), we incentivize that by saying, if you have been found to have a violation in one of the spot inspections that happen, having one on premise is a mitigating circumstance,” Hughes said.

“It may improve your prospects in terms of fines or other things. There could be a form that, if you’ve had a number of violations within a certain set of time, you’re required to have a breathalyzer on site,” he said.

Hughes admitted that he’s gotten some pushback for this idea, but he stressed that using a breathalyzer in a bar would be optional, and no records would be kept.

“We don’t want this to be permanent records. We don’t want to archive people that would use it,” said Hughes. “It would be just something that’s informational, on-site, for people to use. It’s a fine line, because if you did that, it’s probably something that people would avoid and never use.  You don’t want to get to the point where you mandate it.

“You want it to be a practical and smart resource and give people more information than they might have. And protect liability, protect privacy, but give people something out there that will help them.”

Hughes’ said he’s working on a proposal, but it is not yet a numbered bill.

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